By Mike Sunnucks
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking state and federal authorities to investigate Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett for keeping a pet tiger.
Dockett made news earlier for posting pictures of his tiger cub on Twitter and saying he wanted to take it to Cardinals training camp sessions in Glendale and Tempe.
PETA, a national animal-rights organization based in Virginia, has written to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, asking both agencies to investigate whether the Cardinals player is violating any laws having to do with keeping exotic animals.
PETA points out that federal laws restricting interstate commerce of such animals, and state rules require special permits for possession of big cats.
“Tigers are endangered, they’re dangerous, and it’s illegal -- and cruel -- to buy them and keep them as ‘pets’ in Arizona,” said PETA Foundation Director Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the authorities to make sure that any tiger Darnell Dockett may have bought ends up at an accredited sanctuary -- not in a cage in a football player’s backyard.”
Dockett did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The exotic animal and pet trade is a $15 billion business in the U.S., according to Animal Planet. That includes purchases of exotic birds, prairie dogs, monkeys and big cats.